Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good Cops And The Good People They're Good To

Through A Blue Lens should be depressing because it documents the interaction of police on skid row in Vancouver but the police are good cops and the drug addicts are presented as human beings, for all of their depressing conditions.  It depressed me at times but it ended up being encouraging.

Through A Blue Lens

Constable Al Arsenault shows a slide of a wide-eyed 18-year-old girl taken outside a bar in downtown Vancouver. 'Does she look like a drug addict?' he asks a class of high-school students.

When they answer no, the officer shows them the next slide of the same girl, Shannon, six months later. Her face is bruised and covered in festering sores. 'She's on the needle. She didn't know she had an 'addictive personality'. She does now.' The students express their shock and disbelief.

Arsenault, along with six other policemen, began video-documenting the people on their beat to create a powerful educational tool to help prevent drug use among young people. This unique group of officers, who formed a non-profit group dubbed the Odd Squad, resulted in an unusual relationship between the police and addicts in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Through a Blue Lens tells this moving and compassionate story. In this documentary, addicts talk openly about how they got to the streets. Through their participation in this video, they want to stop others from joining their nightmare.

From the National Film-board of Canada

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